Buffs impressive in pulling off LSC sweep of NM schools
Nothing was enchanting for The Land of Enchantment Lone Star Conference teams on a recent visit to West Texas A&M.
Behind strong first-half performances West Texas A&M continued its share of first place in the LSC men’s West Division basketball race by sweeping Western New Mexico and Eastern New Mexico over a span of the three days.
On Thursday the Buffs handed Western NM an 86-57 loss after holding a 16-point (48-32) lead at halftime. Then on Saturday against rival ENMU the Buffs won a crazy shootout and foul-a-thon earning a 106-97 victory after holding a 13-point lead (55-42) at half. The Buffs (11-5 overall) moved to 9-1 overall in LSC play, 5-1 in the West Division sitting tied with Angelo State in first of the West.
“It was really good for us to get to good wins against other teams in our West Division,” said WT head coach Tom Brown, who moved his career record to 15-1 against Eastern New Mexico. “The West is pretty tough with Angelo, Lubbock and us and then Eastern New Mexico I think is right there. Eastern beat Angelo and were up by like 25 or there at their place. … Eastern is big, strong and very good and that’s what you saw here (Saturday).”
The Buffs won two very different games over their New Mexico opponents, the highlight of the two the crazy win over ENMU which saw the two teams combine for 203 points, 85 free throw attempts and 61 fouls whistled. Saturday was more of a yo-yo game against ENMU (10-6, 3-3) for the Buffs building large leads only to see the Greyhounds make a run to keep the game within comeback range between five and nine points.
For instance, WT led by 14 at 70-56 with 12:31 to play on a Damion Thornton free throw. However, ENMU had the Buffs lead down to four with 5:39 to play on a pair of Jahcoree Ealy free throws. WT answered that challenge in hurry when Thornton and Zach Toussaint produced back-to-back three-point plays on tough drives to the hoop within 32 seconds of each other.
That effort put WT ahead 88-78 with 4:22 remaining and the Buffs were able to close out the game. There was no flow to the game with the 61 fouls whistled and while ENMU was an acceptable 32-of-44 from the line (32-of-44), WT was exceptional from the charity stripe. Eight Buffs combined to attempt 41 free throws and made 37 of them for a 90.2 percent effort.
WT needed those free throws as ENMU dominated the boards 46-27 and came away with 20 offensive rebounds. The Greyhounds Errol White had a bizarro double-double with 18 rebounds and 10 points. But the star of the game was Buffs guard Julius Brown who scored a game-high 30 points, dished out a game-high six assists, added two steals and made 9-of-11 free throws.
Brown was in tears at the end of the bench as the game expired. He said he woke last night and was in tears thinking about his dad who recently passed away.
“It was a fun night out there,” Julius Brown said. “I had a rough night sleeping. I lost my dad a couple of months ago and I woke up out of my sleep in tears. I couldn’t go back to sleep the rest of the day. So when I get here I’m ready to go to war with my guys. Just all glory to Hod to be able to come out here and perform after the wild night I had.”
Joining Brown in double figures for the Buffs were Larry Wise with 22 points before fouling out, Toussaint with 16 before fouling out, Thornton with 13 and Addison Wallace who scored 11 points.
ENMU had six players reach double figures led by Ealy’s 24 points.
On Thursday, WT hurt Western NM (9-6, 2-3) with 12 3-pointers, a defense limiting Western NM to 35 percent shooting (19 of 53) and balanced scoring at the top with guard Brown and forward Wise each scoring a team-high 13 points, and Thornton following with 12. Thornton scored all 12 of his points from beyond the 3-point arc, while Wise added a trio of 3-pointers. Western NM was held to one player in double figures scoring with Isiah Lewis putting up a game-high 15 points.
West Texas returns to action next week hitting the road for two games, first on Thursday night at Dallas Baptist followed by a Saturday game at UT-Tyler.
Lady Buffs stay hot at home
Like the West Texas A&M men’s team, the No. 20-ranked West Texas A&M Lady Buffs didn’t make it a friendly environment for their border rivals.
West Texas A&M held off Western New Mexico 73-66 on Thursday before blasting arch-rival Eastern New Mexico 84-55 on Saturday afternoon at the First United Bank Center. It was also a special milestone victory for WT women’s basketball Joshua Prock as he claimed his 250th career victory with the win over his former Lady Hounds team. WT also stayed unbelievably hot at home under Prock winning their 23rd straight game at the First United Bank Center.
“I’m proud of this team for how we played the last two games,” Prock said. “I think we cleaned up a lot of mistakes from Thursday. I think against Eastern we really moved the ball well on offense. We knew if we knocked down shots and got rebounds would get the job done. We just have to keep stacking conference wins.”
WT is now 15-3 overall and 8-2 in the Lone Star Conference and trail Angelo State (14-3, 9-2) by a half a game from the LSC West Division lead.
Karley Motschenbacher paved the way for the offense in both wins over the weekend. The sophomore guard lit up WNM for 22 points going 8-of-12 from the free-throw line adding four rebounds, an assist and a steal. Motschenbacher followed that effort up with another dazzling performance against ENMU dropping in a team-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor adding eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Freshman and Wellington graduate Kyla Kane added 13 points along with Zamorye Roberts and Kamirah Decker poured in 11.
As a team in the blowout over the Lady Hounds the Lady Buffs finished 29-of-70 from the floor (41.4 percent) and were incredible from the charity stripe knocking down 14-of-15 shots (93.3 percent).
The Lady Buffs hit the road for two games, first on Thursday night at Texas Woman’s followed by a Saturday game at UT-Tyler.